The Good, Better, Best – Part 2: Choosing the Best Candidate

b-loehr-best-candidateAs you gear up for the second round of interviews, you’ll want to tune in with all senses and pay attention to instinct as well throughout the entire process. “Gut feeling” can and should be a valuable part of this fact-finding mission.

As you plan a strategy for zeroing in on the very best candidate, implement as many of these extra components as time allows.

  1. Begin at an off-site location

A meeting over breakfast or lunch creates the perfect opportunity to get inside a candidate’s personality which is helpful, even necessary, when evaluating for a fit within the company’s culture. While most people will maintain a formal tone in an interview at the office, the more relaxing setting of a meal or even coffee at the corner diner will encourage people to be themselves.

  1. Head back to the office for a “360-degree interview”

Plan ahead for the candidate to interact and engage with colleagues, subordinates, superiors, and if possible, internal clients and suppliers. This hands-on opportunity will give you valuable insight, broadening your perspective as to how the applicant’s skills on paper translate to skills in the field. After the candidate leaves, seek feedback from those who had a chance to brush shoulders with the potential employee. What vibes did they get? Any red flags pop up?

  1. Re-investigate skills

Before the second round of interviews begin, spend time going over the candidates’ resumes again with an eye for skills and qualifications that may have seemed either unrelated to this position or were simply overlooked. Bi- or tri-lingual? Fantastic. A background in fundraising and non-profit experience? Excellent. Consider these additional talents and aptitudes like you would bonus points on an exam. At the interview, ask the potential employee to elaborate on these skills, so you have a full picture of their potential.

  1. Finish off with a focus on the negative

While most candidates know what they do well, it’s more difficult—and quite telling—to question a potential employee about their weaknesses, past failures, unsuccessful ventures, etc. We all flub up at some point. It’s how we handle the goof(s) and move forward that reveals volumes about a person’s character and leadership qualities.

Frame the discussion around:

  • Tell me about one of your biggest failures and what you learned from the experience.
  • Share something you did that you regret. What was your initial motivation and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Describe a time when you had to conform to a policy you didn’t support. How did the situation cause you to grow?

From the moment you give the candidate a second opportunity to “wow” you, observe each candidate’s response, both what is said and what is left unsaid. Take note of the overall reaction. Enthusiasm or boredom? Nervousness or excitement? Disinterest or engagement? It could be that one or more applicants will remove themselves from the running due to any number of factors. Thank him/her for their interest and the opportunity to connect, then file their resume away for the future.

BLoehr Staffing can assist in finding the best candidates to fill the key positions that keep your company operating at peak performance. Allow our team of employment specialists to assist in recruiting top-notch applicants for your team. Contact us today.

 

Engaging at Work

On a scale of one to five, how engaged are you in your job?

If that number’s less than you’d like, you’re not alone. In 2015, only 32 percent of U.S. workers felt engaged in their current job.

The reasons for a waning enthusiasm can stem from a host of factors, but the bottom line is, a lack of engagement doesn’t have to be permanent.

“Individuals who are engaged in their job have more fun, they feel more connected to their place of employment, they’re more likely to have good social relationships, and it contributes to their all-around wellbeing,” explains Lisa Sansom, a positive interventionist who helps bring out the best in organizations and their people.

Examine your level of engagement and consider which of these steps will help put that spring back in your work-a-day world.

  1. Get to Know Your Co-workers

A top reason employees love their job? Forty percent claim on-the-job friendships are a key factor in job enjoyment. Bonding with co-workers makes for a better working environment. And everyone knows that effective teamwork does wonders for productivity. So, put some effort into making your fellow employees more than acquaintances.

  1. Make Contributions

If you sit back and observe the daily happenings without being an active participant, no wonder your level of engagement is heading south. Taking an active part in brainstorming, presenting ideas, sharing insights, and simply getting involved in what’s transpiring is one of the best ways to boost your level of engagement.

A ho-hum attitude is in large part a conscious decision. Sure, you get your work done, but when you choose not to get into the mix, you’re in essence choosing to stay disengaged. At the very least, hop aboard the excitement of your co-workers.

  1. Branch out and learn something new

 

Is the company preparing to launch new software? Is the IT department installing new equipment? How about the memo asking for volunteers to scout out the competition?

The ho-hums tend to settle in deeper the longer a person’s been with the same company so look for opportunities to branch into new territory. Anything that challenges your brain and your creativity will get the engagement juices flowing again. Learning new things can bolster your enthusiasm and even boost energy levels.

  1. Set aside time for introspection

Spending some time looking back can help you chart a course for what’s ahead. Review why you wanted this job in the first place. What were your goals? Have you accomplished them? How have you grown and developed while there?

If the goals have been met, great, set some new ones. If not, what steps can you put in place to move toward completion? Maybe you’ve accomplished more than you realized and that discovery will fuel a new enthusiasm. Introspection can confirm a new set of goals, reaffirm your reason for remaining at the company and make clear the direction to head in the future.

A concerted effort to engage on the job can make you feel more inspired and confident, paving the way for a more enthusiastic and empowered work experience.

At B. Loehr Staffing we are all about engaged employees who find purpose in and derive enjoyment from their employment opportunities. Our team of staffing specialists can assess your skill set and direct you toward a position that meets your career goals. Contact us today.

 

5 Tips for Achieving Employee Engagement

b-loehr-engagementEngagement on the job is huge. Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202 percent.

Furthermore,  Gallup research found well-established connections between employee engagement and these nine key performance metrics:

  • Customer ratings
  • Profitability
  • Productivity
  • Turnover (for both high- and low-turnover organizations)
  • Safety incidents
  • Shrinkage (theft)
  • Absenteeism
  • Patient safety incidences
  • Quality (defects)

And get this. Engagement has a greater impact on an employee’s well-being than even vacation time or flexible hours.

What can you do to keep the flames of engagement burning? Frankly, there’s quite a lot management can do to encourage an atmosphere of engagement across the entire company.

  1. Be a person of integrity yourself

Saying one thing and doing the opposite is the perfect tactic for shutting down engagement. If the boss/manager/owner doesn’t care, “why should I care” will quickly become the unspoken company mantra.

Be fair and honest. Refrain from making snap judgments or decisions. Respect your employees. Be quick to take responsibility for errors or mistakes, offering a sincere apology and an effective resolution.

  1. Empower your employees

Ensure each employee has what he/she needs to be a success on the job. It’s tempting to assume all the ducks are in a row—training, equipment, procedural know-how, basic and detailed instructions, a clear understanding of the job responsibilities as well as a grasp of the chain of command—for each person to thrive. But despite the best efforts, slip-ups happen. A step or two gets bypassed and the new guy is left without the needed resources to excel.  Early, frequent check-ins can catch the blunders and fill in the gaps.

  1. Build on employees’ strengths

Rather than focus on improving an area of weakness, emphasizing strong points is a natural boost to job engagement. And people who actively use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job.

  1. Utilize incentives

Some folks simply like a challenge while others just need the push an incentive provides. Either way, incentives are an effective way to boost not only engagement but productivity and teamwork as well.

Targets, in general, encourage hard work. And when met goals are recognized and rewarded, it demonstrates an appreciation from the top for a job well done.

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Consistent communication is key to maintaining a high level of engagement. Regular department meetings are one way to keep everyone on the same page. But one-on-one connections between employee and manager/supervisor, whether they occur in person, over the phone, or electronically, lead to higher levels of engagement. In fact, a combination of means seems to be the most effective.

Communication is, of course, a two-way street. An employee must be able to reach a manager and feel confident his/her calls will be returned promptly.

Make every effort to achieve a high level of engagement amongst your employees and then reap the benefits of a more productive, happier workforce.

When you contract with B. Loehr Staffing to meet your fluctuating staffing needs, your energies can then be focused on maintaining an engaged, effective workforce. Let us do the “legwork” involved in keeping your company optimally staffed so you can focus on operating the business. Contact our staffing specialists today.

Customer Service Skills Opens Doors in Your Job Search

Customer Service Skills Opens Doors in Your Job Search

If you bypass all how-to articles about customer service because your current/future/dream job isn’t “in” customer service, stop right there.

It’s true not everyone works the front counter or receptionist desk or answers the telephone, but that doesn’t mean all other positions are void of customer service aspects.

Regardless of the title or job responsibilities, nearly every job involves some element of customer service.

The intern serves the entry-level guy who answers to a supervisor who reports to a director. And the directors report to the president who serves the board of directors or stockholders. Sure, the titles of those jobs evolve, but the game stays the same. There’s no way you can get around customer service, and business couldn’t exist without it,” says Seth J. Carr.

Because having a team of employees well-versed in the “whys” and “ways” of customer service is crucial to businesses across the board, job seekers who excel in customer service-related characteristics will rise to the top of the candidate pool.

What customer service skills will serve you well in any job? A concerted effort in these specific areas will set you apart from the average job seeker.

  1. The commitment to value and appreciate people

Who enjoys being treated like a number? Umm, that would be no one. People everywhere expect and deserve to be treated with respect and given personalized attention. Don’t opt for false enthusiasm which is much easier to spot than a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill. And those “magic words” your mom and your kindergarten teacher insisted you use? Make them a regular part of your everyday vocabulary.

  1. The willingness to admit to and resolve mistakes 

When handling complaints, whether the errors were yours personally or involved the company in general, it always pays to take responsibility and offer to resolve the situation. Do not resort to the “blame game.” Issue a sincere apology and immediately resolve the issue. Everyone has goofed at some point, and most people will appreciate a genuine effort to make things right.

  1. An awareness of body language is key

Many people are unaware of frequent or even “pet” gestures or expressions that have become a normal part of their persona. Ask a close friend or family member to point out looks, motions or posture that could have a negative connotation. Consider recording yourself during a conversation to get a feel for the other person’s view of you.

One particularly difficult emotion to mask is boredom. To appear genuinely interested in a long, drawn-out exchange can be quite a challenge, yet very much worth the effort. A sincere smile, eye contact, the occasional, meaningful head nod—each of these gestures will not only convey interest, but they will also help to keep you engaged.

  1. Be a man or woman of your word

Who hasn’t been promised the moon by a smooth-talking customer service type only to receive absolutely nothing that he/she promised? Whether to end the encounter quickly or to appear to be more helpful than was the reality, the result is the same. The customer who walks away (or hangs up) relieved a resolution has been reached, will be furious later when the “dropped ball” is discovered. Shortcuts and false promises cheat the customer out of a deserved positive outcome. Lazy customer service always equals bad customer service.

  1. Treat co-workers the same as you would a valued employee

It’s no surprise the Gallup organization has found a “direct correlation between employee and customer satisfaction.” When co-workers treat each other with respect and kindness and are willing to lend a helping hand, it’s easy to see how that behavior would translate into an atmosphere of treating the consumer in the same manner. It’s difficult to be surrounded by an every-man-for-himself environment and yet maintain a high level of positive customer interaction. Employees who argue amongst themselves are much more likely to engage in disputes with customers.

The first step in being the customer-service oriented employee every business wants to hire is an understanding of the role customer service plays in the business world. And then, with a concentrated effort, anyone can improve their people interaction skills.

B Loehr Staffing is always seeking candidates with exceptional customer service skills as we strive to meet the staffing needs in the Greater St. Louis area. As our employee, we will put your people interaction skills to use in a career that fits your lifestyle needs. Contact one of our staffing specialists today.

Which Job Offer do I Accept?  

b-loehr-offerYour hard work has paid off. All that time spent researching and filing out applications and those nerve-wracking interviews have led to a job offer. Time to celebrate, right?

Not just yet. Now may be the toughest part of all. Deciding if the job is right for you. I mean, really right. After all, this isn’t a summer gig at the corner convenience store. This major life decision requires major consideration.

And then your phone rings, and now you have two offers.

“For the employer, it’s a commercial decision,” says Kim Seeling Smith, founder, and CEO of Ignite Global. “For you, it’s a life decision, so you have to put a lot of thought into taking the next opportunity.”

With the job market stronger across the board, it’s become a candidate’s marketplace, especially for those with sought-after skills. So, winding up with two appealing offers can happen easily.

The next step is to delve deep into the specifics of each offer. To get started, answer these basic questions:

  • What are the business hours and the schedule you’ll be expected to work?
  • Do you have a solid understanding of the day-to-day tasks?
  • What is the start date?
  • When does the company need your decision?

Next, move on to the benefits package. Here’s where a spreadsheet will come in handy. It’s difficult to compare two benefits packages without seeing them side by side as the individual benefits may vary widely.

  • Consider the out-of-pocket expense for health care by calculating premiums, deductibles, co-pays, prescription coverage, etc.
  • Are dental and vision coverage included? Again, get out the calculator.
  • Review the vacation/personal time/sick days’ policies.
  • What paid holidays are standard at this company?

Now for a moment, put all of this information aside and revisit your values, priorities, and career goals. How do each of these offers compliment these goals? How do each work against these goals? Which job is a better fit for where you want to be in two years? Five or ten years?

Use additional columns on the spreadsheet or a good ol’ pros vs. cons list to note the answers to these important questions. By now, one offer probably is shining a little brighter – may even be a clear leader. Or it could be a dead heat. Before you disqualify or accept either offer, there are two more ways you can gather valuable intel.

  1. Ask to meet the team
  2. Ask for a copy of the employee handbook

Such a request shows genuine interest on your part and should be met with a willingness to make it happen . . . unless the employer has something to hide. Both will net vast amounts of information to assist your decision.

Did you notice salary isn’t getting a mention until the end? Money is by far not the only thing to consider when choosing between two job offers.

Whether you are looking for short term, long term, temp-to-hire, part-time or a full-time position, B. Loehr Staffing is your connection to offers. Since 1898, we have been matching companies and candidates. We are your opportunity. Contact our team today and discover best-fit positions for personal and professional growth.

Planning for Retirement – Part II

With the average American spending roughly 20 years in retirement, creating adequate retirement income is a challenge some folks begin to plan for as early as their 20’s. While that’s the ideal scenario, too often retirement planning gets pushed aside by seemingly more pressing matters, like keeping the kids fed and in respectably clean clothes. Not to mention the mortgage, soaring utility bills, and that four-wheeled money pit in the drive.

If retirement is coming sooner rather than later, and you’re regretting not focusing more attention on the financial aspect of how you’ll spend those golden years, don’t panic. There’s still time to put some plans into place with these practical how-to’s:

  1. Become a pro on the ins-and-outs of Social Security

While you may begin receiving payments as early as 62, in many cases it’s wise to delay benefits until you reach full retirement age at 66 or 67. Postponing benefits until age 70 will yield a bigger monthly payout. A Social Security calculator can assist you in determining the most advantageous time for you and your spouse to begin receiving benefits.

While you’re storing away Social Security knowledge, don’t forget to get acquainted with the sign-up process and determine the timeline for receiving that first check. 

  1. Contemplate health insurance options

It’s likely your decisions were few when covered under the company’s group policy, but once you enter retirement, healthcare coverage becomes a much more complicated matter.

 

Should you be fortunate enough to retire before age 65, when Medicare takes effect, plan to seek the assistance of those well-versed in the complexities of private health insurance.  Allow yourself plenty of time to sift through the many plans and options before choosing the coverage that will best meet your needs. And remember that once you qualify for Medicare, it won’t pick up all of your medical expenses so plan to choose supplemental coverage to fill in the gaps.

 

  1. Build up a rainy day/emergency fund

 

It’s wise to have a minimum of three months’ worth of living expenses tucked away for the unexpected. Like the red tape that may delay your pension checks. Or any other emergency that could take a chunk out of the amount you’ve planned for routine monthly expenses. You’ll rest easier, knowing this little nest egg is there.

 

  1. Consider the cost of retirement pursuits

The big bills are most likely paid off because that’s how you planned it. Now it’s time to have fun – buy a boat, trek across the country, or turn the spare room into an art studio. However you plan to spend this much-anticipated downtime, don’t underestimate the cost of these relaxing pursuits.

 

Financial planners often advise you’ll spend less money in retirement than you did while working as you won’t be commuting to work or have other work related expenses. However, golden-years adventures can put a sizable dent in your monthly budget. Before splurging on new experiences, gather cost estimates and make wise decisions.

 

If you hopped on the planning-for-retirement circuit rather late in the game, don’t fret. Your best strategy now is to gather all the info you can get your hands on so you can make the most informed decisions.

 

At B. Loehr Staffing, the satisfaction of our clients and candidates is our number one priority. We work hard to make your working years fulfilling – a best-fit position that ends in a well-planned retirement. Take advantage of our more than one hundred years of experience in bringing employment and staffing solutions to the greater St. Louis area. Contact our team of specialists today.

 

 

 

Keys to the Perfect Mix of Friendly and Professional

A continuing challenge for today’s employees is the effort to strike a balance between professionalism and warmth/friendliness at the workplace.

The goal? Be friendly enough to be an approachable, desired member of the team and yet professional enough to be an effective, respected part of the team.

Who will notice if you fail to arrive at the middle ground between professionalism and friendliness? Umm, everyone. Folks on both sides of the equation, meaning boss and co-workers as well as customers and industry peers.

Let’s take a peek at each of these tenets individually beginning with “friendly”.

Nothing exudes friendliness better than a warm smile and a pleasant disposition. Even better? A smile that “reaches the eyes”. Working relationships get a natural boost when all involved possess a positive attitude and a cheerful demeanor. People whose personality bends toward the other side of the spectrum simply have to put more effort into being pleasant.

Genuinely friendly people are easy to detect. They are interested in others, rather than consume with power and status. It’s almost as if he/she wore a name tag proclaiming in bold, black Sharpie letters, “Friendly, Approachable, Interested. How can I help you?”

When it comes to professionalism, some think of wardrobe selection and an extensive, industry-related vocabulary. While those tenets are components of professionalism, there’s much more to it.  Professionalism is born from a mixture of discretion, credibility, tact, and polish with a liberal dose of common sense thrown in for good measure. It encompasses how a person conducts himself/herself as well as a how he/she deals with others.

Knowing how to respond to a multiple array of situations is a mark of professionalism. If this is a weak area for you, tap into available resources for growth and remember, concentrated effort can certainly bring about improvement. Mentoring and accountability by a colleague or peer can be especially helpful.

Here are few do’s and don’ts to get you started.

DO foster relationships

“It’s much easier to work with folks if you get along,” says Lisa O’Neill, a public relations account executive at Trinity Communications in Boston. Make an effort to find common ground and put aside personal differences for the sake of the working relationship.

A get-the-job-done attitude may earn you the coveted “professional” label. But if you ignore everyone in the office, forego lunch and break time socializing, and then head out at the end of the day without a word to your co-workers, “friendly” will not be a descriptor attached to your name.

DO engage yourself in the job

Get with the program. Bring your A game. Jump in with both feet. Whatever phrase gets you motivated, use it. If you appear disinterested in the position, less than excited to be there or worse yet, a slacker, you won’t be perceived as either professional or friendly.

Get and keep up to speed with the department happenings and the overall business. Not only will this awareness assist you in the area of job performance, but you will also be recognized as a resource and gain the respect of your colleagues.

DO dress appropriately

Most jobs come with at least a basic dress code while others have very specific wardrobe requirements. Pushing the envelope to see what you can get away with simply because you dislike the established parameters creates awkwardness amongst colleagues. On your own time away from the workplace, the choices are yours. When you’re on the clock or at a company function, show professionalism by adhering to the dress code.

Grooming habits count too. If it looks like you slept in it, choose something else. While the stubble-faced look may be “in”, company leadership may frown on this trend. But shower-fresh, with clean hair and nails, never goes out of style.

DON’T get caught up in office politics or gossip

It’s unfortunate but almost every workplace has its share of drama and/or politicking. Turn a deaf ear to gossip and refuse to be part of it – neither spreading it nor basing decisions on anything less than documented information.

Want to climb the corporate ladder? Focus on giving 110% to the job and don’t worry about the other guy edging you out. If you strive to be professional and incorporate steps 1, 2, and 3, you’ll get noticed for the right reasons.

DON’T be needy or clingy or foster relationships that are

“But I want everyone to like me best.” If this is your mantra, it will be quite an extraordinary battle to maintain professionalism. This isn’t the playground. You and each of your co-workers are here to do a job. There’s nothing wrong with, nor is it uncommon, for people who work together to become friends. But during work hours, the friendship has to take a backseat to the work relationship and the job.

BLoehr Staffing wants to be your career partner. Whatever your professional goals, B. Loehr can offer you a career that fits your unique situation, enhancing your ability to be professional and friendly, with the freedom and flexibility your lifestyle demands. Contact our team of employment specialists today.

 

The Foundations of an Ethical Workplace

An internet search about “ethics in the workplace” will uncover a lot of discussions, most of which centers around practices of the unethical kind. Names such as Enron, WorldCom, and Lehman Brothers are still circulating years after their scandals made the headlines.

To note that poor ethical practices are unhealthy for the bottom line is like saying winter is cold in Minnesota. More than half of the ten largest corporate bankruptcies since 1980 resulted from unethical business practices.

Each year, almost half of U.S. employees report witnessing unethical or illegal conduct in their workplaces. Many of these incidents are not reported and therefore remain unaddressed. A fact that should concern each and every one of us.

What does it mean to have an ethical workplace? What does such a place look or feel like?

Perhaps the best way to discover the answers to these questions is to point out traits that are not part of an ethical workplace.

  • A place where misconduct is tolerated.
  • Where different standards apply to particular departments or individuals.
  • Where “cutting corners” is encouraged.
  • An atmosphere that pushes profits above everything else.
  • Where leadership is not held accountable and/or not expected to set an example.
  • Where no system of “checks and balances” exists.

Michael C. Hyter, senior partner, leadership and talent consulting, at Korn Ferry in Washington, D.C. sums up his idea of an ethical workplace quite nicely,

“What it means to me is an environment that makes it easy to do the right thing and makes it difficult to do the wrong thing.”  

It usually starts with minor stuff. A “white lie” here, a misrepresentation there. A growing “sweep it under the carpet” attitude that becomes toxic. The thing about ethical missteps is they tend to snowball. One misstep become two missteps – then three . . . leading to a “break” that doesn’t stop before becoming a full hiatus from doing the right thing.

Establishing an ethical workplace culture will not happen without solid, ethically grounded leadership leading the charge. Employees will naturally take their cues from management. An attitude of utmost commitment to a high standard must start at the top if it’s to reach the bottom rung.

So, what are the hallmarks of an ethical workplace?

  • Respect is a priority

Between co-workers, amongst management, between management and staff. Across the board, mutual respect is given and expected.

The same parameters are extended to vendors, peers, customers, the UPS man, the city workers who plow the streets – everyone. Anyone who comes in contact with the company is treated with respect and is expected to behave in the same manner.

  •  Integrity is required

Consistent demonstrations of this character quality are mandatory. Being a man or woman of your word is evidenced in every department, across all phases of the business, to the point of being woven into the very tapestry of the company. Senior leadership not only models the highest degree of integrity but makes no apologies for demanding the same from everyone in the company.

  •  Reporting procedures are in place

Every employee knows, from day one, what to do and to whom to report should he/she witness unethical or illegal conduct. Fears of retaliation are dispelled because the company culture is such that 1. Retaliation is not tolerated. 2. Reporting is expected. 3. Management is consistently watchful toward such behavior.

While it’s okay to hope the company never has to use such procedures, savvy businesses know they cannot afford to ignore the potential for unethical conduct occurring.

  • Swift, consistent consequences apply across the board

Nothing is hushed, poo-pooed, ignored or in any other way disregarded when it comes to addressing and resolving issues of an ethical nature. Whether it be the CEO or a janitorial team member, consequences will be administered in a timely fashion for all infractions. Investigations into the wrong-doing do not cease until all involved parties are uncovered. In other words, “who you are” has no bearing on the degree of ethical behavior expected from any individual.

A company culture that upholds and expects a high level of ethical standards will have happier, more productive employees, less employee turnover and will benefit from a positive reputation among consumers.

B Loehr Staffing holds all of our employees to the highest level of ethical standards. Their outstanding performance has helped to build our reputation as a premier provider of quality staffing.Through our distinctive Team Based Client Support System, we can respond quickly to assist with all of your staffing needs, supplying your business with ethical workers. Contact our staffing specialists today.

 

 

Preparing for Retirement – Part 1: Life Changes  

b-loehr-retirementMost people spend their lives building a financial plan in order to have the dream of a fulfilling retirement. But too often preparation stops there. As their working days dwindle, the biggest concerns looming over the hearts and minds of many soon-to-be retirees has nothing to do with money.

Questions swirl through their minds. What will life be like after retirement? What will I do every day? What if I’m bored or get depressed? What if I hate retirement?

George Kinder  who has been espousing and refining life-planning programs with clients for several decades, suggests that those considering retirement should ask themselves:

“Who do I want to be? What have I missed? Who did I not get to be?”

He then encourages them to enter their “golden years” with the realization that this time is “an incredible opportunity to have all of these things in front of you.”

These strategies will help you get the “living” side of retirement in order.

  •  Consider what you enjoyed most about working

Maybe it was the people or the gratification of completing a project. Could be you thrived on the structure of a detailed schedule. Many people derive satisfaction from meeting the needs of their clientele.

Once you’ve pinpointed this aspect, consider other places or opportunities where this component could be fulfilled. Many non-profit organizations could benefit from marketing, writing, organizational and a plethora of other skills perfected over the lifetime of a career. If you miss helping others or simply miss being around people, the residents of a local nursing home would certainly be happy for some conversation and attention.

  •  Ease into retirement.

Take small steps to prepare yourself by “practicing” ahead of time. If you plan to move, visit the new location as often as possible. Check out leisure, entertainment and art opportunities as well as associations or interests that you’re involved in currently.

Many folks plan to travel after retirement, maybe because working leaves little time to do it now. So, then take a couple of longs weekends to get a feel for how you and your spouse will do on extended trips.

If you plan to get more involved in a hobby, take purposeful steps in that direction before you close the door on your working days.

  • Be realistic.

If you’ve worked 50-60 hours a week for 30-40 years, full retirement may be too great of a shock to your system! Consider becoming a “lite” version of yourself for, say, six months or so. Maybe remain on as a consultant or a resource person for the next project or two.  Spend some time mentoring your replacement or another employee in the department. Anything even somewhat career-focused can help to bridge the gap.

Next week we’ll tackle the financial preparations needed to enjoy your “dream” retirement.

If you’re considering a seasonal, temp, or part-time position as a way to ease into retirement, B. Loehr Staffing has many such opportunities. Contact one of our staffing specialists to see how your lifetime of skills can translate into a transition opportunity.

The Significance of Labor Day

b loehr - labor dayIt’s more than a Monday PTO from work that makes for a nice long weekend at the end of summer. While Labor Day, the first Monday of September, is commonly celebrated with picnics, water sports, good times at the lake cottage, and family reunions, the official holiday is designated to commemorate the American worker and his/her achievements.

In September 1882, the unions of New York City decided to have a parade to celebrate their members being in unions, and to show support for all unions. At least 20,000 people attended the parade although workers had to give up a day’s pay to attend.

The idea caught on, and other regions began having parades. By 1887, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Colorado declared Labor Day a state holiday. In 1894, Congress passed an act designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day, an annual legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories, officially commemorating the prominent role of the labor movement in American society.

Of course, what better way to celebrate the American workforce than to enjoy those picnics, water sports, and good times. And if you’re one of those families who will fire up the grill this Labor Day weekend, give this tasty recipe adapted from the Allrecipes.com entrée a try.

“Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs”

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 3 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T. minced fresh rosemary (approx. 3 fresh sprigs) OR 1 t. dried rosemary
  • 2 salt
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 1 white vinegar
  • 1/4 t. ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 T. white sugar, or to taste (optional)
  • 5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1-inch cubes

Directions

  1. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Combine olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, lemon juice, white vinegar, pepper, and sugar in a medium bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add chicken and stir to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. If you tend to prefer a stronger marinade flavor, reserve several tablespoons of marinade for use while grilling.
  3. Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade.
  4. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill skewers for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear. Drizzle with reserved marinade while grilling, if desired.
  5. Loehr Staffing wishes the entire American labor force and their families a relaxing and safe Labor Day weekend.